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Theory Exams

MRCEM Primary, MRCEM SBA, FRCEM SBA

RCEM theory exams (MRCEM Primary, MRCEM SBA, FRCEM SBA) are multiple choice question (MCQ) papers, formed of single best answer questions (SBAQ). Multiple choice questions are formed of a question and a listed choice of answers to select from. The single best answer (SBA) format means that any of the answers may be partially correct or plausible, but only one answer will be fully correct.

All RCEM theory exams are delivered through Computer Based Testing (CBT) provided by Pearson VUE.

Sample questions for each of the exams can be found on the RCEM Learning website.

Computer Based Delivery of RCEM Theory Exams

All RCEM theory exams are delivered through Computer Based Testing (CBT). Theory exams are delivered through our provider Pearson VUE, primarily through their global test centre network.

+ Exam Booking

Exam Booking

Applications for theory exams will first be reviewed against the eligibility criteria for that exam. Once this has been approved, candidate details will be shared with Pearson VUE and details of how to book a test centre will be provided.

To sit a theory exam, direct booking with Pearson VUE is required. Candidates will be sent login details for a Pearson VUE account, unless they have not sat an RCEM exam with Pearson VUE before in which case they will be able to log in using their existing login details. Once the booking window has opened, they can log in and book a test centre seat. Test centres are offered by distance from the listed preferred address on the candidate’s RCEM account. A full list of test centres can be found in the ‘Find a test centre’ link on the RCEM landing page. Once booked, a confirmation email will be sent from Pearson VUE. Candidates from the following countries will be unable to test in their home country due to restrictions implemented by Pearson VUE:

  • Crimea Region
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Sudan*
  • Syria

Candidates from any of the above countries (excluding Sudan***) will be unable to test using passports. For example, a Cuban passport will not be accepted. If you have a valid ID from the country you are testing in, Pearson VUE will permit you to take your examination and no further action will be required. The restrictions in place do not represent the College values and are in place by Pearson VUE and not the College. The College will continue exploring options and will update candidates affected by Pearson VUE restrictions when further information is available.

***The USA has recently lifted sanctions against Sudan and therefore Sudanese candidates will have their valid passport accepted by Pearson as ID at test centres internationally. However, restrictions are still in place for OnVUE so Sudanese ID will not be accepted in an OnVUE exam. Candidates should not try to use Sudanese ID at an OnVUE exam as it will be rejected, and they risk their exam being revoked.

In exceptional circumstances, candidates may be offered the option of sitting their exam remotely if they are unable to travel to a test centre. Any requests should be sent by email to exams@rcem.ac.uk, detailing the nature of the request and providing any relevant supporting evidence. Remote exams are delivered through Pearson OnVUE online and require a compatible device, stable internet connection and private environment. OnVUE exams must start between 07:00 and 12:00 UK time.

Candidates requiring further assistance with sitting an exam should refer to our reasonable adjustments page.

+ Exam Preparation

Exam Preparation

In the lead up to an exam day, candidates should ensure they are familiar with the location and timing of their exam. Candidates must also ensure they have their ID ready to present on the exam day, containing a clear photograph and signature. The first name and last name on a candidate’s Pearson VUE account must exactly match those on the ID that they will present at their test centre. Middle names are not checked by Pearson VUE. We send Pearson VUE candidates’ details as they appear in the first name and last name fields of their RCEM account. Once candidates have access to their Pearson VUE account, they should check that the names match their ID and, if they do not, they should send exams@rcem.ac.uk an email with their ID to update the first and last names on their Pearson VUE account. ID documents must be issued from the country that the candidate is testing in, otherwise only an international travel passport will be accepted. See Pearson VUE’s full ID policy.

Candidates should also familiarise themselves with the format by engaging with the Pearson VUE demo test.

+ Exam Day

Exam Day

On the exam day, test centre exams will start between 08:00am and 12:00pm local time. Approved comfort aids will be permitted in Pearson VUE test centres.

Candidates must check in 15-30 minutes before the exam start time. Late candidates will not be admitted and will forfeit their exam fee.

Candidates can find their nearest Pearson Vue test centre. Test centre spaces are subject to availability for the specific exam date. If no local centres are available, candidates may be required to travel a reasonable distance for the exam. Pearson VUE can assist candidates with bookings.

Further information regarding Pearson VUE and test centre exams can be found on the RCEM landing page of the Pearson VUE website

Online Invigilation

+ Remote online delivery of RCEM Theory Exams

Remote online delivery of RCEM Theory Exams

In some exceptional circumstances, candidates who are not able to travel to a test centre to sit their theory exam may be considered to sit their exam remotely using Pearson OnVUE. Requests to sit an OnVUE exam must be sent to exams@rcem.ac.uk, detailing the nature of the request and providing supporting evidence for the reasoning for not being able to sit in a test centre. If candidates require further assistance with sitting their exam, they may refer themself to our reasonable adjustment page (add link).

In order to sit an OnVUE exam, candidates must have access to a compatible device in a private environment with a stable internet connection. Full details of the OnVUE technical and test environment requirements can be found on Pearson VUE’s website.

Approved candidates are still required to book their OnVUE exam through Pearson. Candidates will be provided registration details with Pearson VUE which will enable them to log in and book their exam slot. Once booked, a confirmation email will be sent from Pearson VUE.

+ Exam Preparation

Exam Preparation

In the lead up to an exam day, candidates should ensure they are familiar with the timing of their exam and have their ID ready to present on the exam day, containing a clear photograph and signature. The first name and last name on their Pearson VUE account must exactly match those on their ID. Middle names are not checked by Pearson VUE. Candidate’s details are send to Pearson VUE as they appear on their RCEM account. Once candidates have access to their Pearson VUE account, they should check that the names match their ID and, if they do not, should send  an email to exams@rcem.ac.uk with their ID to update the name on their Pearson VUE account. ID documents must be issued from the country they are testing in, otherwise only an international travel passport will be accepted. See Pearson VUE’s full ID policy.

Ahead of the exam day, a system test and exam simulation should be completed to ensure the device and environment are suitable.

+ Exam Day

Exam Day

On the exam day, OnVUE exams must start between start between 07:00 and 12:00 UK time. Candidates must be logging into their Pearson VUE account at least 30 minutes before the exam start time. Late candidates will not be admitted and will forfeit their exam fee.

Theory Exams FAQS (MRCEM Primary, MRCEM SBA, FRCEM SBA)

+ Am I eligible for the exams?

Am I eligible for the exams?

Eligibility information can be found in the Information packs for all exams:

MRCEM Primary Information pack
MRCEM SBA Information pack
FRCEM SBA Information pack

+ Am I eligible for exemption from MRCEM Primary as I have MRCS?

Am I eligible for exemption from MRCEM Primary as I have MRCS?

Only MRCS candidates who are on the DRE-EM training scheme may be granted exemption from the MRCEM Primary exam. If you are not a DRE-EM trainee, you will be required to pass the MRCEM Primary before applying to the MRCEM SBA.

+ How do Pearson VUE test centre exams work?

How do Pearson VUE test centre exams work?

All information regarding Pearson VUE and test centre exams can be found on the RCEM landing page of the Pearson VUE website.

+ How do I book a Pearson VUE test centre?

How do I book a Pearson VUE test centre?

Once your application has been approved by the RCEM Exams Team, your details will be sent to Pearson VUE. Once Pearson VUE have received your details, they will contact you to book your test centre. Please be aware that this process can take several weeks so your patience is appreciated.
You will log into your Pearson VUE account with the username and password provided by Pearson VUE and will then be able to search for a seat in a test centre. You will be offered the test centres in order of proximity to your listed ‘preferred’ address on your RCEM account. You can book any available test centre space available; the start times will be between 8am and 12pm in your local time. Once you have completed the booking, Pearson VUE will send you a confirmation email.

+ Do Pearson VUE have test centres in my country?

Do Pearson VUE have test centres in my country?

View the Pearson Vue test centres.

+ What is Pearson VUE’s ID policy?

What is Pearson VUE’s ID policy?

At your test centre you must present one form of identification (ID) on the day of your exam. Your ID must contain a clear photograph and a signature. The first name and last name on your Pearson VUE account must exactly match those on your ID. Your middle name is not checked by Pearson VUE. We send Pearson VUE your details as they appear on your RCEM account. Once you have access to your Pearson VUE account, please check that the names match your ID and, if they do not, send exams@rcem.ac.uk an email with your ID to update the name on your Pearson VUE account.

ID documents must be issued from the country you are testing in, otherwise only an international travel passport will be accepted.

Pearson VUE’s full ID policy can be found here.

Pearson VUE restrictions:

Candidates from the following countries will be unable to test in their home country due to restrictions implemented by Pearson VUE:

  • Crimea Region
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Sudan*
  • Syria

*The USA has recently lifted sanctions against Sudan and therefore Sudanese candidates will have their valid passport accepted by Pearson as ID at test centres internationally, restrictions are still in place for OnVUE.

Candidates from any of the above countries will be unable to test using passports.  For example, a Cuban passport will not be accepted. If you have a valid ID from the country you are testing in, Pearson VUE will permit you to take your examination and no further action will be required. The restrictions in place do not represent the College values and are in place by Pearson VUE and not the College. The College will continue exploring options and will update candidates affected by Pearson VUE restrictions when further information is available.

+ What comfort aids are permitted in test centres?

What comfort aids are permitted in test centres?

Approved comfort aids (test centres only).

+ Can I do a demo test?

Can I do a demo test?

View the Pearson VUE demo test.

+ What can I expect at a Pearson VUE test centre?

What can I expect at a Pearson VUE test centre?

View information about Pearson Vue test centres.

+ Can I sit the exam via OnVUE?

Can I sit the exam via OnVUE?

Pearson VUE test centres are our main delivery method for theory exams. Wherever possible candidates must take the exam in a test centre. We recognise that, in certain exceptional situations, candidates may be unable to travel to a test centre. If this is the case for you and you would like to be considered for an OnVUE exam, you should email exams@rcem.ac.uk detailing the nature of your request and provide supporting evidence for the reason you are unable to sit in a test centre. In countries where there are no Pearson VUE test centres, OnVUE will be considered.

OnVUE exams must start between 7am and 12pm UK time.

+ I have been approved by the RCEM Exams Team to take my exam via OnVUE. How do I check that I have the right technical requirements and testing space for this exam?

I have been approved by the RCEM Exams Team to take my exam via OnVUE. How do I check that I have the right technical requirements and testing space for this exam?

All technical requirements and test-environment requirements can be found on Pearson VUE’s website. Please ensure you run a system test and exam simulation before exam day to ensure you are fully prepared.

+ Can I take a bathroom break during my exam?

Can I take a bathroom break during my exam?

Test centres: yes, you can use the bathroom during your exam.
OnVUE: no, you cannot leave your desk or the view of your webcam during the exam. If you are sitting the MRCEM SBA or FRCEM SBA, you can leave your desk during the 1-hour break between papers.

+ I usually have reasonable adjustments for exams, how will these be accommodated during my exam?

I usually have reasonable adjustments for exams, how will these be accommodated during my exam?

When your reasonable adjustments are approved for an exam, we will email you to confirm what these adjustments are. If there is anything which cannot be accommodated, we will contact candidates to provide alternative options.

+ What will happen if I’m late to an exam?

What will happen if I’m late to an exam?

To allow time for the check-in procedure in a test centre/via OnVUE, please be ready when the check-in window opens 30 minutes before your exam start time. If you are late to your test centre, you will not be allowed to sit the exam and will forfeit your exam fee.

+ What happens if there is a problem at my test centre?

What happens if there is a problem at my test centre?

Technical issues at test centres are extremely rare, however they can and do occasionally happen. In the event of technical issues at your centre, we will work quickly with Pearson VUE to understand both the cause of the issue and the length of time needed to resolve the issue and will update you as soon as possible. If the issue at the test centre cannot be resolved in a reasonable timeframe, we will begin to move to one of our back-up options – either finding another space for you in a nearby test centre or offering at home testing via OnVUE. More information about OnVUE, including technical requirements, can be found here. If neither back-up option is available or suitable for you, you will be given a full refund.

+ Who should I contact if I experience technical issues during my exam?

If I experience technical issues on exam day, who should I contact?

If you’re sitting the exam in a test centre, all issues should be reported to the Test Administrator, who will log this as a case and provide the necessary technical support. If you would also like to provide feedback about these issues after your exam, please email exams@rcem.ac.uk within a week of the exam.

If you’re taking the exam at home via OnVUE, your proctor will be able to provide support with technical issues. If you need further support, please contact Pearson VUE’s customer service. You can email exams@rcem.ac.uk if technical problems persist. Our Member Services team can also be reached on +44 (0)2074041999.



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